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Days 1 & 2 (July 24 and 25, 2013). We just checked in at the Holiday Inn Express in Carson City, Nevada.  It is relatively early in the day (3 pm) but we did not want to continue because the sky was pitch black and we could see lightning at a distance.  We did not want to ride our motorcycles under an electrical storm.  Unlike cars, which create a sort of Faraday cage, motorcycles do not provide any level of protection against lightning (the rubber of tires is not enough!) Adrián is sleeping while I write this; we are both tired. We have been on the road for two days now. We left Claremont at around 8 am yesterday. Lucas and Lucía kissed us goodbye and took the first pictures of the trip.  We crossed the Mohave Desert early in the morning so the air was not very hot. Our first stop was at a gas station at Kramer Junction, 82 miles from home. I usually stop there when I take US-395. After we got gas,  we parked the bikes under a nice palo verde (cina cina) tree to rest. The palo verde had several green pods so Adrián and I got to eat the semi-sweet seeds—like we used to do when we were kids in Argentina.  We reached the Southern Sierras at around 11 am. At a rest stop at Pearsonville, Adrián noticed a bit of oil on his right boot. We thought it was coming from the oil filter cover of the KLR, so we tightened the two bolts (no more oil after that). For lunch we stopped at the famous Erick Schat’s Bakery in Bishop. We sat outside and enjoyed a nice break (and an expensive sandwich that we shared). When I came back with the sandwich, Adrián was conversing with an older man sitting next to him. The friendly man thought we were Italians so he was practicing his Italian on Adrián, who responded in slow Argentinian. The man is going to Italy in the Fall and was excited to find Italians in Bishop. That night we camp at the French Camp Campground at Tom’s Place near Crowley Lake. This lovely, huge campground is set along Rock Creek among aspens, junipers, and pines at an elevation of 7,500 ft. The views from the campground are beautiful. After pitching our tent and unpacking the bikes, Adrián and I went fishing on the creek. With my new 3-weight fly fishing rod and an Elk-hair caddis, I caught the most beautiful brown. The trout hit the fly fast and hard. It took me a while to get the fly from deep inside the trout’s mouth but the fish was released unharmed (I do need to get hemostats though). There were very few fishable spots on that section of the creek so we went back to camp to prepare dinner. If you have been following our motorcycle adventures you have probably guessed what we made. Yes, Ramen noodles! (the gourmet type, from Marukai). After a short after-dinner walk around the campground we had a nice cup of mint tea and popcorn. Before going to sleep we had to put everything away into the bear-proof box in our campsite. The following morning we had coffee, repacked everything onto the bikes, and rode in the direction of Mammoth Lakes. The ride through the loop of lakes was gorgeous. The campgrounds were all full and there were tons of boats fishing on the lakes. After completing the loop and visiting the ski area we rode onto June Lake. We took a break by Gull Lake next to a place where I collected hydra not long ago. The forecast for the Mammoth Lakes area indicated thunderstorms but the morning was still clear and the temperature was perfect for our heavy motorcycle gear. We took the road through Silver Lake to visit remarkable natural limestone formations at Mono Lake’s South Tufa. To get to the shore of the lake we had to ride on gravel for a few hundred meters. Neither of us had ridden on gravel since my accident in Patagonia. We both agreed that we hate the feeling. As we were ridding north from Mono the sky was getting darker and we could see rain at a distance on the mountains. We stopped for lunch at a campground—deli sandwiches and bananas we bought in Bridgeport—when it began to rain (very lightly). We continued north but were stopped for over 20 minutes because of road work by Topaz Lake. It was stormy and hot while we were waiting for the lady with the stop sign to let us through. A long line formed behind us. Meanwhile, as we were reaching boiling temperatures inside our jackets, people at the lake were water skiing. We stopped at a gas station to wait for the rain to pass and to make hotel reservations. We reached Carson City—a legendary town featured on many cowboy stories we read as kids in Argentina—under a patch of sun but with menacing dark skies all around us. For dinner we went to Bully’s, a sports bar near the hotel, and broke our diet!

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